Designer Spotlight: Porter Gulch

Porter Gulch | San Francisco CA USA
I can't even begin to share how touched I am by the people who have come into my life through my jewelry. They love that that it was made by my hand, and I love that it means something special to them. It's the best.

A detour worth taking.

Born & raised in the idyllic northern California beach town of Santa Cruz, Brooke DeDiego grew up building forts, climbing trees, and “enjoying the freedom of having space to run and play.”

An artist at heart, sewing, card making, and painting were always central to her creative spirit. Given her line of work, that's not entirely a surprise, right?

Right. But as with most things in life, the road from here to there took a few twists and turns.

After college, jewelry wasn’t even in the picture as Brooke headed cross-country to New York to join the proverbial “rat race”. Armed with a job in finance and a microscopic apartment that mocked the notion of her spacious upbringing on a daily basis, she learned to navigate the mean streets of Manhattan. (Ed. Note: Born + raised on those same streets.)

~EST~
2010
~TRADE~
JEWELRY DESIGN & METALSMITH
Porter Gulch | San Francisco CA USA

Brooke DeDiego

~ San Francisco, California USA ~

"My greatest designs seem to come to me after a weekend away from the studio or taking some time to exercise or read a book. If that doesn't work, I take a trip to my local gem cutter to see what new stones he has in. There's nothing like a beautifully cut stone to inspire a new design."
Porter Gulch | San Francisco CA USA 
Porter Gulch | San Francisco CA USA 

West meets east. Meets west again.

"My time in NYC made me a little tougher and assertive", Brooke says. "It also inspired me to follow my heart." Which is why, after six long years crunching numbers, Brooke devised a heartfelt exit strategy in the form of a silversmith class at the School of Visual Arts.

And then another...and another… until soon, her tiny bedroom included a workbench, tools, and the realization “I could make beautiful things that people would want to wear.”

Two years after that first class, Brooke quit finance and Porter Gulch was born. Leaving her steady income behind wasn't easy at first, but the gamble has more than paid off. "I find that I am most creative when my life is balanced."

Speaking of balance, last year Brooke and her husband relocated to San Francisco. “This city is so beautiful, it's easy to love", she says. "We can still walk to restaurants and bars, but also easily hop in the car for a trip to the beach or redwoods.”

Favorite new haunts? "Go to Taco Bar on Fillmore Street. If you know what you are doing you order the 'Mahi Mahi Burrito Especial'. Then head over to Festa in Japantown for group karaoke."

We… hesitate. Brooke smiles patiently, but stands her ground.  “You'll understand once you get there.”

Porter Gulch | San Francisco CA USA
Holding the finished piece in my hand is the best part of the process. It definitely gives me a sense of pride and satisfaction. In fact, I hope people get half as much pleasure out of using these products as I do making them.